Title:  Complain, complain, complain

Focus:  When complaining reveals a rebellious lack of faith in God, God may demonstrate his wrath by allowing his people to seek solutions that do not involve him and that inevitably are a dead end.  However, God is not necessarily displeased with honest complaints and laments when they are struggles to have faith in him.

Function:  To motivate the hearers to learn to be honest in their praying to God, but not to turn from him when things are rough

Text:  Numbers 11:1-35



1.  Frank a man who complained and saw negative in any situation

            a.  Hal, a co-worker wanted to show him his marvelous dog

            b.  Frank not see what could be so special about dog.

            c.  Went hunting with Hal and Dog, shot bird, fell in water

            d.  Dog walked on water, brought bird back - “Can’t swim can he?”

2.  Some people always negative, always see bad, always complain

3.  Complaining is the theme for next few chapters in Numbers

            a.  Have you ever known anyone that always complains no matter what?

            b.  Do you ever feel like saying - “just shut up”

            c.  Have you yourself ever been prone to complaining?

4.  We can learn a couple of lessons about complaining from our text (Num 11)


I.  This is quite different from the first times they complained

            A.  Back in Exodus, they complained a number of times

                        1.  It seemed the journey to Sinai filled with complaining

                                    a.  Complained at Red Sea

                                    b.  Complained at Marah and Rephidim when no water

                                    c.  Complained when no food

                        2.  Yet God not displeased, he answered positively

                        3.  Gave them water, gave them Manna

            B.  However, God is now angry.  Why?

                        1.  Complaining here is different

                        2.  Not complaining that there is no food, but that it is “just” Manna

                                    a.  How many things can you do with Manna?

                                    b.  Manna soup, manna biscuits, manna loaf, manna rolls

                                    c.  Manna burger?  Manna helper - Just add Manna

                        3.  Problem is not they are tired of Manna

                                    a.  They weeping instead of being thankful

                                    b.  They not focused on where God leading them

                                    c.  They self-centered, not God centered

                                    d.  Ironic - since God is at the center of the camp

                                                - But God not at center of their hearts

                        4.  So God responds - How? 

                                    a.  He gives them what they ask for as before

                                    b.  However, he is not providing for them as before

                                    c.  (Rom 2:18) - God’s wrath is being revealed.  How?

                                                - 3 times, says God “gave them over” to desires

            C.  ILL:  When a teen was rebuilding the head on my car

                        1.  Was supposed to keep parts in plastic bag - didn’t

                        2.  Lost the keepers for  valve stems, secretly substituted others

                        3.  Car ran great for about a week, then threw a valve. 

                        4.  Sometimes the only way to learn is let someone do it their way

                                    a.  Israel did not like doing it God’s way

                                    b.  Israel did it their way, wanted meat - God gave it to them

                                                -  They only thought they were sick of Manna

                                                -  Had quail coming out ears for a month

                                                -  Now, they literally sick of Quail

                                    c.  God knows what is best, they needed to trust him

            D.  We need to trust God and do things his way

                        1.  Things like proclaiming Gospel, not merely “influecing” people

                        2.  Things like turning the other cheek

                        3.  Things like not holding a grudge

                        4.  And the list goes on and on


II.  But notice, that God deals with Moses’ complaint differently

            A.  Why does God deal with Moses differently than the people?

            B.  Moses’ complaint was different than the people’s complaint

                        1.  Moses still desired to do things God’s way, the people did not

                        2.  But Moses felt overwhelmed

                                    a.  Felt that he may have fallen out of favor with God

                                                - v.15 - Lit - “Why have you dealt ill with your servant”

                                                - Not found favor in sight?

                                    b.  He complaining, but still directing questions to God

                                    c.  Shows that God is still in his heart

                        3.  Shows that complaining not always displeasing to God

                                    a.  Many examples of complaints to God in scripture

                                    b.  Psalm 137:7-8; 139:19-22; Job; Habbakuk; Lamentations

                                    c.  Psalm 22 - Jessus prayed the first lines to this Psalm

                                    d.  Complaining okay when it not rebel against God

                        4.  So God deals with Moses same way he dealt with people’s

                              complaints back in Exodus - Provides for him

                                    - Moses gets a staff of 70 elders to work with him

            C.  ILL:  Sometimes difficult times come.  A tragedy, or otherwise

                        1.  Knew someone lost child, she started to vent feelings when visit

                                    a.  First reaction was to try and stop her

                                    b.  She sounded like she questioning God

                        2.  We often uncomfortable when someone vents, complains

                                    a.  Think it reflect failing faith

                                    b.  May think blasphemous as Job’s freinds did

                        3.  Many eastern cultures accept this as normal, maybe we should

            D.  So complaining not always bad. 

                        1.  If it not self centered

                        2.  It reflects an honest faith to take even your feelings to God

                        3.  In Job’s case, in Moses case, and even Jesus on cross, God

                            took care of them



1.  So, self centered rebellious complaining that stems from selfishness is not pleasing to God

2.  But honest expression of feelings directed to God is not always displeasing to God, if it is from a struggling faith, and not a rebellious lack of faith.

3.  Heb 4:14-16 - We have merficul and faithful high priest, can BOLDY approach throne of grace to find help in time of need

4.  Wont you come this evening for help?

            a.  If sins not washed away?

            b.  Need help for other struggle in your life

            c.  Direct it to God